Pankajnath Tiwari :-
Laxmi Mata, also known as Goddess Lakshmi, is a prominent deity in Hindu mythology and is considered the goddess of wealth, prosperity, and abundance. The story of Laxmi Mata varies across different Hindu scriptures and traditions, but here is a popular version of her story:
According to Hindu mythology, Laxmi Mata emerged during the churning of the cosmic ocean, known as Samudra Manthan, which took place between the Devas (celestial beings) and the Asuras (demons). The Devas, led by Lord Vishnu, sought to obtain the divine nectar of immortality, known as Amrita, that lay hidden in the ocean. They needed the Amrita to regain their strength and defeat the Asuras.
During the churning process, various treasures and divine beings arose from the ocean. Laxmi Mata emerged from the depths of the ocean, radiating immense beauty and grace. She was adorned with exquisite jewelry and garments, and her presence illuminated the entire universe. Laxmi Mata captivated everyone with her charm and became the center of attention for both the Devas and the Asuras.
Lord Vishnu was instantly enchanted by Laxmi Mata’s divine beauty and recognized her as his eternal consort. He requested her to accept him as her husband, and she agreed, choosing Vishnu as her divine spouse. Since then, Laxmi Mata has been regarded as the consort of Lord Vishnu and is often depicted by his side or on his chest.
Laxmi Mata is portrayed as a benevolent goddess who blesses her devotees with wealth, fortune, and prosperity. She is often depicted holding lotus flowers in her hands, symbolizing purity and fertility, while gold coins and overflowing treasures shower around her. Her four arms represent the four goals of human life: Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and Moksha (liberation).
Devotees worship Laxmi Mata to seek her blessings for material abundance, financial prosperity, and spiritual well-being. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is a significant celebration dedicated to Laxmi Mata, where devotees light lamps and perform prayers to welcome her into their homes and lives.
Birth and Rebirth: While the popular narrative states that Laxmi Mata emerged during the churning of the cosmic ocean, some texts describe her as being born to the sage Bhrigu and his wife Khyati. In this version, she is the sister of Lord Shri (Vishnu’s earthly incarnation) and is married to him in her subsequent birth as Goddess Sita, the consort of Lord Rama.
Relationship with Vishnu: Laxmi Mata’s relationship with Lord Vishnu is characterized by deep love and devotion. She is often portrayed as his eternal companion, sharing an inseparable bond. Laxmi Mata is believed to provide wealth and prosperity to those who worship Vishnu with devotion and sincerity.
Churning of Milk Ocean: In addition to the Samudra Manthan, another notable instance involving Laxmi Mata is the churning of the Milk Ocean. According to this tale, the Devas and Asuras churned the ocean of milk to obtain the nectar of immortality. Laxmi Mata appeared during this event as well, and after evaluating the qualities of the Devas and Asuras, she chose to reside with the Devas, becoming their patroness.
Laxmi and Alakshmi: Laxmi Mata is often contrasted with her sister, Alakshmi, who represents misfortune and poverty. Alakshmi is portrayed as the antithesis of Laxmi, causing discord, strife, and financial difficulties. Devotees pray to Laxmi Mata to ward off Alakshmi and invite prosperity into their lives.
Incarnations of Laxmi: Laxmi Mata is believed to have taken various forms to bless and assist humanity. Some of her notable incarnations include Goddess Radha (the beloved of Lord Krishna), Goddess Sita (the consort of Lord Rama), and Goddess Durga (who defeated the buffalo demon Mahishasura). Each incarnation highlights different aspects of her divine nature and attributes.
Significance of Lotus: The lotus flower holds great symbolism in the worship of Laxmi Mata. The lotus represents purity, enlightenment, and spiritual awakening. Laxmi Mata is often depicted seated on a lotus or holding lotus flowers in her hands, signifying her association with divine beauty, fertility, and transcendence.
Laxmi Puja: Devotees perform special prayers and rituals to honor Laxmi Mata, seeking her blessings for wealth and prosperity. Laxmi Puja, observed during Diwali, is one of the most significant celebrations dedicated to her. It involves lighting oil lamps, creating intricate rangoli designs, offering flowers and sweets, and reciting prayers to invoke her presence and blessings.
Relationship with Saraswati and Parvati: Laxmi Mata is often depicted alongside Goddess Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge and learning) and Goddess Parvati (the divine consort of Lord Shiva). Together, they are known as the Tridevi or the Triple Goddesses. The presence of Laxmi Mata alongside Saraswati and Parvati symbolizes the harmonious balance between wealth, knowledge, and power.
Laxmi and Kubera: Laxmi Mata is also closely associated with Kubera, the god of wealth. According to Hindu mythology, Kubera became the treasurer of the Devas with the blessings of Laxmi Mata. He is often depicted as the guardian of the divine treasures and wealth, while Laxmi Mata bestows prosperity and abundance upon those who please Kubera with devotion.
Ashta Lakshmi: Laxmi Mata is revered in different forms known as the Ashta Lakshmi, representing various aspects of wealth and prosperity. The Ashta Lakshmi are:
a. Adi Lakshmi: The primal form of Laxmi Mata, representing the beginning of creation and the source of all wealth. b. Dhana Lakshmi: The bestower of material wealth and prosperity. c. Dhanya Lakshmi: The provider of agricultural abundance and food grains. d. Gaja Lakshmi: The giver of power, strength, and royalty, often depicted with elephants symbolizing prosperity. e. Santana Lakshmi: The granter of offspring, fertility, and family happiness. f. Veera Lakshmi: The bestower of courage, valor, and success. g. Vijaya Lakshmi: The giver of victory, triumph, and success in all endeavors. h. Vidya Lakshmi: The bestower of knowledge, wisdom, and intellectual growth.
Temples and Festivals: Numerous temples dedicated to Laxmi Mata can be found across India, with the most famous being the Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu and Kashmir, where she is worshipped alongside Goddess Durga and Goddess Saraswati. Additionally, festivals like Varalakshmi Vratam and Navratri hold special significance in Laxmi Mata’s worship, where devotees observe fasting, offer prayers, and engage in devotional practices.
Symbolism of Laxmi Mata: Laxmi Mata’s iconography is rich in symbolism. Her golden complexion represents radiance and enlightenment. She is often depicted sitting or standing on a blossomed lotus, symbolizing purity, beauty, and spiritual growth amidst material existence. The presence of gold coins and overflowing treasures around her signifies abundance and prosperity. Her four arms represent divine power and the ability to bestow blessings upon her devotees.